Do You Want a Digital Billboard in Your Neighborhood?

A Clear Channel Digital billboard, featuring the late star Michael Jackson, is seen in Los Angeles in February 2010.

Are you ready for digital billboards on state land across the commonwealth? The Department of Transportation wants the glowing house-sized signs on its property across the state, and the revenue they’ll bring to the state, according to the Boston Globe.

Under the current deal signed with Clear Channel, the state would get a cut of each billboard’s revenue—either 25 percent or $ 90,000 per year, whichever is higher. But other states negotiated more lucrative deals.

Current state law allows these digital billboards, but prohibits any animation. So you won’t see the latest Geico lizard ad or anything like that, but you may see a rotating set of images. It also requires the sign’s owner to set aside time for public service announcements.

You may have passed one of these signs already. There are digital billboards in Foxborough, Medford, Stoneham and a few other locations.

Former Governor Michael Dukakis is a vocal opponent of the digital billboards (and billboards in general). He was especially angry about the lack of siting oversight for local communities.

“For the life of me, I don’t understand why we need these in the Commonwealth,” said Dukakis in an interview with the Globe. “The T is hell-bent on becoming the state’s primary visual polluter.”

What do you think? Should Massachusetts allow more of these digital billboards? Do you find them distracting while you drive? Should the state negotiate for a bigger cut of the profits? Or should they be banned altogether? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

South End Patch